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National Drug Intelligence Center
Washington Drug Threat Assessment
Methamphetamine will continue to pose a primary drug threat to Washington. The production, distribution, and abuse of the drug likely will increase in most areas of the state. Methamphetamine-related violent crimes will continue to be the most significant drug-related threat to public safety and law enforcement officers. The increase in methamphetamine laboratories will continue to pose environmental hazards, tax government budgets, and present safety hazards to law enforcement officers. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers will remain the primary producers of methamphetamine in Washington. However, Mexican criminal groups likely will increase the amount produced at larger laboratory sites, particularly in the Yakima and Tri-City areas, as demand for the drug grows. Mexican criminal groups will remain the primary wholesale distributors of methamphetamine transported into Washington from California, Oregon, and Mexico.
Marijuana is likely to continue as the primary drug of abuse in Washington and will continue to be readily available throughout the state. Marijuana production in Washington will continue to increase, particularly at outdoor grow sites. The amount of Canada-produced marijuana smuggled into Washington likely will increase as the demand for higher potency marijuana increases throughout the United States. Canada-based Asian criminal groups, primarily Vietnamese gangs, and Canada-based OMGs, primarily Hells Angels, as well as Canada- and Washington-based Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers will remain the principal smugglers and wholesale distributors of Canada-produced marijuana in Washington. Mexican criminal groups will continue to be the principal transporters and wholesale distributors of Mexico-produced marijuana. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers most likely will remain the primary producers, transporters, and distributors of marijuana produced in Washington.
Cocaine likely will remain a significant threat to Washington. Powdered cocaine will continue to be readily available throughout the state, and crack cocaine will continue to be readily available in Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. Mexican criminal groups with well-developed supply and distribution networks likely will remain the principal wholesale cocaine distributors in Washington.
Heroin likely will continue to present a serious threat to Washington, particularly in major cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Yakima. Mexican black tar heroin will remain the predominant type available in the state. Mexican criminal groups will remain the principal wholesale heroin distributors, and Mexican local independent dealers will remain the primary retail distributors of the drug.
The availability and abuse of MDMA, particularly in the Seattle area, is likely to increase due to the growing demand for the drug by young adults. Other dangerous drugs will remain a lesser threat to the state than methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals will continue to increase with a corresponding increase in pharmacy and residential burglaries.
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